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Russia: Kazan Look To Cement Play-Off Position

01 February 2005
Alexei Naumov

Defending FIBA Europe League champion UNICS Kazan will be looking to avenge their 66-88 home loss to the Ukrainian side BC Kyiv on Tuesday in Kyiv. The game will be vital for both teams as a loss may end their hopes of advancing to the next stage of the competition.

“Our plan for tomorrow’s game is simple” – said UNICS head coach Stanislav Eremin. “It is to win. The most difficult problem for us is the fact that we left Kazan on January 18 and have played all our games on the road since then."

Kyiv are wary of the inside threat posed by Kaspars Kambala
Those losses include a 75-70 defeat against Dynamo Moscow on Saturday in the Russian Superleague. Kazan have fared better in Europe and have won their last three contests, two of which were road victories

BC Kyiv, on the other hand, have also had a tough time recently, dropping three consecutive games in Europe and will be looking to end this streak.

One added incentive for Kazan is the return of Ukrainain forward Mykola Khryapa. Khryapa played for Kazan last year, before returning to his hometown Kyiv in the off-season. However, just a few days ago Khryapa was released by Kyiv and has signed with Kazan for the rest of the season.
“I know Khriapa’s strengths and weaknesses very well and hope that he will be a valuable addition to our team”, commented Eremin on re-signing the ex-Kyiv starter.

BC Kyiv’s head coach Renato Pasquali knows the game will be difficult. Despite the fact, he had nothing to hide in his pre-game comments:

“Our success will most likely depend on how Ioannis Giannoulis, Marcelo Nicola and KresimirLoncar can handle UNICS’s big men. I know that we failed to contain Kambala in the first half of our game in Kazan, however the sets we started to use against him in the second worked, so we will try to do the same tomorrow.

“We also practiced man-to-man defense very hard – UNICS have good shooters, so trying to stop them with a zone would be a mistake. However, we’ll use zone to break their rhythm several times, but not too often.”

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